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Manners, costumes, and dress during the middle ages, and during the renaissance period.pdf

Manners, costumes, and dress during the middle ages, and during the renaissance period.pdf

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Published by mitraliera
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Published by: mitraliera on Jul 23, 2012
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12/28/2013

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The Queen of Sheba before Solomon
 (
Costume of 15th century 
.)Fac-simile of a miniature from the
Breviary 
of the Cardinal Grimani, attributed to Memling.Bibl. of S. Marc, Venice. (From a copy in the possession of M. Ambroise Firmin-Didot.)The King inclines his sceptre towards the Queen indicating his appreciation of her personand her gifts; five ladies attend the Queen and five of the King's courtiers stand on his righthand.
 
M
ANNERS
,
 
C
USTOMS
,
AND
D
RESS
D
URING THE
M
IDDLE
A
GES
,
AND
D
URING THE
ENAISSANCE
P
ERIOD
.
B
Y
P
AUL
L
ACROIX
 (B
IBLIOPHILE
J
ACOB
),C
URATOR OF THE
I
MPERIAL
L
IBRARY OF THE
A
RSENAL
,
 
P
ARIS
.
I
LLUSTRATED WITH
 N
INETEEN
C
HROMOLITHOGRAPHIC
P
RINTS BY
F.
 
K
ELLERHOVEN
 
AND UPWARDS OF
 
OUR
UNDRED
NGRAVINGS ON 
OOD
.
P
REFACE
.
he several successive editions of "The Arts of the Middle Ages and Period of theRenaissance" sufficiently testify to its appreciation by the public. The object of that work wasto introduce the reader to a branch of learning to which access had hitherto appeared onlypermitted to the scientific. That attempt, which was a bold one, succeeded too well not toinduce us to push our researches further. In fact, art alone cannot acquaint us entirely with anepoch. "The arts, considered in their generality, are the true expressions of society. They tellus its tastes, its ideas, and its character." We thus spoke in the preface to our first work, andwe find nothing to modify in this opinion. Art must be the faithful expression of a society, sinceit represents it by its works as it has created them--undeniable witnesses of its spirit andmanners for future generations. But it must be acknowledged that art is only the consequenceof the ideas which it expresses; it is the fruit of civilisation, not its origin. To understand theMiddle Ages and the Renaissance, it is necessary to go back to the source of its art, and toknow the life of our fathers; these are two inseparable things, which entwine one another, andbecome complete one by the other.The Manners and Customs of the Middle Ages:--this subject is of the greatest interest, notonly to the man of science, but to the man of the world also. In it, too, "we retrace not onlyone single period, but two periods quite distinct one from the other." In the first, the publicand private customs offer a curious mixture of barbarism and civilisation. We find barbarian,Roman, and Christian customs and character in presence of each other, mixed up in the samesociety, and very often in the same individuals. Everywhere the most adverse and oppositetendencies display themselves. What an ardent struggle during that long period! and how full,too, of emotion is its picture! Society tends to reconstitute itself in every aspect. She wants tocreate, so to say, from every side, property, authority, justice, &c., &c., in a word, everythingwhich can establish the basis of public life; and this new order of things must be establishedby means of the elements supplied at once by the barbarian, Roman, and Christian world--aprodigious creation, the working of which occupied the whole of the Middle Ages. Hardly doesmodern society, civilised by Christianity, reach the fullness of its power, than it divides itself tofollow different paths. Ancient art and literature resuscitates because custom
insensibly 
takesthat direction. Under that influence, everything is modified both in private and public life. Thehistory of the human race does not present a subject more vast or more interesting. It is a
 
subject we have chosen to succeed our first book, and which will be followed by a similarstudy on the various aspects of Religious and Military Life.This work, devoted to the vivid and faithful description of the Manners and Customs of theMiddle Ages and Renaissance, answers fully to the requirements of contemporary times. Weare, in fact, no longer content with the chronological narration and simple nomenclatureswhich formerly were considered sufficient for education. We no longer imagine that the historyof our institutions has less interest than that of our wars, nor that the annals of the humblerclasses are irrelevant to those of the privileged orders. We go further still. What is above allsought for in historical works nowadays is the physiognomy, the inmost character of pastgenerations. "How did our fathers live?" is a daily question. "What institutions had they? Whatwere their political rights? Can you not place before us their pastimes, their hunting parties,their meals, and all sorts of scenes, sad or gay, which composed their home life? We shouldlike to follow them in public and private occupations, and to know their manner of livinghourly, as we know our own."In a high order of ideas, what great facts serve as a foundation to our history and that of themodern world! We have first royalty, which, weak and debased under the Merovingians, risesand establishes itself energetically under Pépin and Charlemagne, to degenerate under Louisle Débonnaire and Charles le Chauve. After having dared a second time to found the Empire of the Caesars, it quickly sees its sovereignty replaced by feudal rights, and all its rights usurpedby the nobles, and has to struggle for many centuries to recover its rights one by one.Feudalism, evidently of Germanic origin, will also attract our attention, and we shall draw arapid outline of this legislation, which, barbarian at the onset, becomes by degrees subject tothe rules of moral progress. We shall ascertain that military service is the essence itself of the"fief," and that thence springs feudal right. On our way we shall protest against civil wars, andshall welcome emancipation and the formation of the communes. Following the thousanddetails of the life of the people, we shall see the slave become serf, and the serf becomepeasant. We shall assist at the dispensation of justice by royalty and nobility, at the solemnsittings of parliaments, and we shall see the complicated details of a strict ceremonial, whichformed an integral part of the law, develop themselves before us. The counters of dealers,fairs and markets, manufactures, commerce, and industry, also merit our attention; we mustsearch deeply into corporations of workmen and tradesmen, examining their statutes, andinitiating ourselves into their business. Fashion and dress are also a manifestation of publicand private customs; for that reason we must give them particular attention.And to accomplish the work we have undertaken, we are lucky to have the conscientiousstudies of our old associates in the great work of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance toassist us: such as those of Emile Bégin, Elzéar Blaze, Depping, Benjamin Guérard, Le Roux deLincy, H. Martin, Mary-Lafon, Francisque Michel, A. Monteil, Rabutau, Ferdinand Séré, Horacede Viel-Castel, A. de la Villegille, Vallet de Viriville.As in the volume of the Arts of the Middle Ages, engraving and chromo-lithography will cometo our assistance by reproducing, by means of strict fac-similes, the rarest engravings of thefifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and the most precious miniatures of the manuscriptspreserved in the principal libraries of France and Europe. Here again we have the aid of theeminent artist, M. Kellerhoven, who quite recently found means of reproducing with so muchfidelity the gems of Italian painting.Paul Lacroix(Bibliophile Jacob).

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